Updated: Jul 1
Getting off to the right start working from home
Most people who work for themselves will tell you that motivation is the biggest challenge. Especially when you’re working from home and especially in the morning. There are so many distractions and for those who aren't natural morning people, it can be awfully tempting to start the day later on. True, it’s easier when you’re busy because you have deadlines to meet and you’re seeing the fruits of your labour coming into your bank account, but few businesses start off this way. When you’re the start of your journey and working from home, it can be difficult to treat each day as a regular working day, but routine is essential. In fact, some of the most successful people in the world stick rigidly to a tight routine every morning and swear by it. So here are some of the practises that work for me and/or my other self employed friends.
15 minutes 'me time'
You may be one of the lucky ones who spring out of bed feeling fabulous and ready to go, in which case you might not need to add this practice to your routine. However, if you're like me you are somewhat delicate in the morning then you'll need to be kind to yourself. Also, I've found it's no good for me starting my work with a voice in my head saying 'you need to make a coffee in a minute', 'when are you going to do your exercise today?' Although these may not be work tasks, they help facilitate my ability to focus and so those voices only join the work to-do list.
Therefore, rather than allow myself to be interrupted (by myself) during work, I enjoy up to 20 minutes 'me time' in the morning, still in my PJs before I go to my desk. For me, this comprises of a cup of hot water and lemon and a few minutes of energising yoga stretches to wake up my body. Whatever works for you to get your mind and body awake will really help you start your working day well. Just be conscious of the time you spend and how you spend it because doing things you enjoy doing, is not the same as taking care of your wellbeing.
Dress For Work
If I had to name one thing people always say when they start working from home, it would be 'it's so great not having to get dressed in the mornings.' Ironically, this is one of the worst traps to fall into. We all remember our schools telling us why uniform was enforced. One of the many reasons was that it puts you in the right state of mind to learn. Likewise, our work clothes put us in the right state of mind to work. There is something pychological with clothes that connects certain clothing with certain activities and as tempting as it is to stay in them all day, we acossiate pajamas with sleeping, not active time. The last thing you want to do also, is risk disturbing your sleep routine because you have reconditioned your mind to believe sleepwear is now workwear.
If you are in the health and fitness industry then you’ll probably be most motivated in activewear. Ask yourself, if you were meeting clients, how would they expect you to be dressed. For instance, I wear half of what I might if I were in an office. So I'll pair a shirt or blouse with jeans or leggings. Feeling comfortable whilst semi-smart empowers me to go about my business day with a higher level of self-belief and purpose. When your motivation is fueled by your end goals, you have to picture yourself achieving them to keep yourself going.
If you're not wearing boxers or a dressing gown in your daydream of accepting your Businessperson of the Year award, or delivering your TED talk, then it's probably not helping you to wear them at your desk.
Music Good. TV Bad.
Just no. Sorry. But no. No, not even the news. No, you can't turn it on for just one thing because it will never get turned off. What? You work just as well with the TV on in the background? No - You - Don't!
By all means turn on the radio, perhaps a podcast which isn't too intrusive. I love to listen to music. Fast upbeat music really energises me and folk or instrumental music can really help when I'm writing. Some people prefer total silence.
The only thing I swear never works for anyone is having the television on whilst you work.
Limit Social Media. Boast Creativity.
With online marketing as my main job, reducing screen time is an almost impossible feat. Yet, even for those whose businesses are more labour based it can be difficult to limit screen time. Especially with marketers like me advising to post regularly on social media, keep on top of your online presence and keep up with your industry news.
However, what we do by restricting time is to reduce it down to what is really useful. I can't tell you how often I go onto Instagram to post something quickly and half an hour later I'm still scrolling and haven't added anything to my feed. It's the social media black hole and yes, it is important to scroll a little to engage with others and keep up with the trends. Yet, to keep it productive give yourself a time limit. I always recommend reading your news and posting on social media in the mornings (afternoons too in some cases), but give yourself 20 minutes and don't allow yourself to exceed it. Then get back to you, because productivity is a two-part process. You have to effectively engage with the outside world, but you also need to be able to tap into your own creative space so that what you produce is true to you and your business.
Lots of Natural Light
Nothing wakes you up like sunshine. I know, it's England, it's not always in supply. Still, one of the things I love most about not being in an office is not having to be under artificial strip lighting which gives me headaches. Aircondition also carries around stale air and seems to have only two settings - off or Antarctica. Working by the window or opening the french doors is the best way to begin our workday, even if the weather isn't great - it's still fresh.